Oncology patients' attitudes toward, and experiences with, somatic mutation tumour testing

Roger Liang, Bettina Meiser, Sian Smith, Nadine Kasparian, Craig Lewis, Melvin T. Chin, Georgina Long, Robyn L. Ward, Alex Menzies, Alex Guminski, Julie Harris-Wai, Rajneesh Kaur

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Introduction: Somatic mutations in key oncogenes in lung adenocarcinomaand melanoma are important determinants of tumour sensitivity to geneticallytargeted therapies. Predictive molecular testing for these somatic mutationsis routinely used to guide the effective and efficient use of personalisedanticancer treatment. This qualitative study will explore patients’ attitudesand understanding of molecular ‘tumour testing’, their experiences of receivingresults from these tests, and their associated information and decisionsupport needs.Methods: Patients with advanced lung adenocarcinoma or melanoma wereinvited to participate in a semi-structured face-to-face or telephone interviewby their treating oncologist. With the use of a semi-structured interviewguide, their experiences and preferences regarding the tumour testing processand receiving results were elicited. Each interview was audiotaped, transcribedand analysed for thematic patterns using the qualitative methodologyof pragmatic realism (Miles, Huberman, & Saldana, 2014).Results: Data collection and analysis is ongoing. We will continue recruitmentuntil redundancy of information is achieved, which we anticipate willoccur once a sample size of about 20 participants per cancer group has beenachieved. As of August 2015, 16 patients with lung adenocarcinoma andeight with advanced melanoma have completed interviews. Overall, patientshold positive views and expectations of tumour testing, and understand thatit is used by their oncologist to guide treatment decisions. They prefer toreceive information about tumour testing as soon as possible after diagnosis,but emphasise the importance of clear communication using basic, nontechnicallanguage. Commonly reported barriers to understanding includeinformational overload, complex genomic concepts, and residual psychologicaldistress from their cancer diagnosis.Conclusions: Although patients generally feel informed and confident withtheir oncologist’s use of tumour testing to help make treatment decisions,findings indicate that they would benefit from decision-related and educationaltools to clearly communicate genomic information and realistic expectationsof treatment benefit.
Original languageEnglish
Article number260
Pages (from-to)144
Number of pages1
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology
Issue numberS4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventCOSA’s 42nd Annual Scientific Meeting: Rare Cancers: Common Goals - The Federation Conference and Exhibition Centre - Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Australia
Duration: 17 Nov 201519 Nov 2015

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